Posnanski and Schur make their cases, you decide the winners
By Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur
MLB.com |@JPosnanski |
So here's the idea: We want to identify the "funnest" player in baseball.
Now, sure, you may say, "Hey, dingdongs, 'funnest' is not a word. What are you, a third grader?"
And you would be right. But we beat on, boats against the current, because grammar is not our quest. The funnest player in baseball is our quest.
What do we mean by funnest player? There is almost no chance that you, imaginary reader, are really asking this question; it's pretty self-explanatory and something you know instinctively.
But just in case: This is not at all about finding the best player. No, we want to find the players who make your heart stop -- the players you go to the ballpark excited to see. We want to find the players who inspire you to pause when furiously scanning channels. We want to find the players who make you smile, make you laugh out loud, make your jaw drop, make you feel something -- joy or goosebumps or rage.
And then, we want to find the funnest one of them all.
There is only one way to do this, of course: Twitter polls!
Who are we? Another excellent question you certainly did not ask.
We are Michael Schur -- writer, producer, baseball nut, creator of "The Good Place" (second season premieres Sept. 20 on NBC). We are Joe Posnanski -- executive columnist of MLB.com, author, amateur juggler, baseball nut.
We host a podcast called The PosCast, which critics have called "way too long," and "why is it so long?" It was there, in our longest-ever PosCast, that we set the seeds for our funnest baseball bracket.
No. 1 seed: Giancarlo Stanton
Baseball's greatest slugger. Probably not true fact: Once hit a baseball that burned out trying to escape the earth's atmosphere.
No. 8: Nolan Arenado
Has led the National League in homers and RBIs each of the past two years (and leads again this year), and only his immediate family knows it. Makes ludicrous defensive plays on a nightly basis. Probably not true fact: Is the actual Last Jedi -- has not been found because he plays half his games at Coors Field, so no one pays attention.
1-8: Stanton vs. Arenado
Joe bracket: No. 1 seed Giancarlo Stanton vs. No. 8 seed Nolan Arenado #funnestplayer
No. 4 seed: Byron Buxton
Might be the fastest player in baseball -- see No. 4 seed in the Mike bracket -- makes optical-illusion catches more or less every game, is a former pitcher who threw 99 mph in high school and is now hitting with power. Probably not true fact: Would be the best receiver on 12 NFL teams, the best point guard on the majority of NBA teams, and the best sous-chef at most Michelin-star restaurants. He's talented, is what we're saying.
No. 5: Francisco Lindor
Defensive wizard, hits with power, plays with such unbridled happiness that it is impossible to watch him play without being overcome with joy. Probably not true fact: Scientists estimate that if they could harness Lindor's joy for baseball and convert it into electricity, they could power Shaker Heights. And they'd win a Nobel Prize, probably, because: Wow! Clean energy solution!
4-5: Buxton vs. Lindor
Joe Bracket: No. 4 seed Francisco Lindor vs. No. 5 seed Byron Buxton #funnestplayer
No. 3 seed: Aaron Judge
Monster, force of nature, inspired the whole "All Rise" thing in New York, which we feel is a little corny. We think each home run should be followed with "The judge declares that pitch guilty!" or something better than that. Probably not true fact: Once accidentally swallowed Ronald Torreyes, who had to live in his stomach for a week like Jonah in the whale.
No. 6 seed: Mike Trout
Best player in the game, does everything brilliantly; he's seeded low because his consistent excellence makes all of us a little bit jaded. Probably not true fact: By virtually every advanced statistic, he is on pace to become the greatest player in baseball history. Oh no, wait -- this is true.
3-6: Judge vs. Trout
Joe bracket: No. 3 seed Aaron Judge vs. No. 6 seed Mike Trout. #funnestplayer
No. 2 seed: Adrian Beltre
Hits with power, plays breathtaking defense, moves on-deck circles, chases anyone who touches his head. Probably not true fact: Will be elected to the Hall of Fame unanimously. Should be true. But probably not.
No. 7: Chris Sale
Called the Condor, is an unhittable whirlwind, throws a geometrically impossible slider, cuts up uniforms he doesn't like with scissors. Probably not true fact: Once threw a slider to a right-handed hitter at Fenway and it broke so sharply it ended up striking out a left-handed hitter in Philadelphia.
2-7: Beltre vs. Sale
Joe bracket: No. 2 seed Adrian Beltre vs. No. 7 seed Chris Sale #funnestplayer
No. 1 seed: Jose Altuve
He's 5-foot-6 (maybe) and does more awesome things than anyone in the game. Probably not true fact: Once, on a collision at home plate, he actually entered the catcher's body like Neo at the end of "The Matrix." He was originally called out, but the call was overturned on replay.
No. 8: Mookie Betts
A slightly larger Altuve, does miraculous things nightly, named Mookie. Probably not true fact: Mookie is so full of joy and wonder he can heal people's injuries like E.T.
1-8: Altuve vs. Betts
Mike bracket: No. 1 seed Jose Altuve vs. No. 8 seed Mookie Betts #funnestplayer
No. 4 seed: Billy Hamilton
Might be the fastest player in the game -- see No. 5 in the Joe Bracket -- and he does various Quicksilver-type things every game. Probably not true fact: Hamilton is so fast he can get out of bed, turn out the lights across the room, steal second, steal third, steal home, run back to the dugout, eat a sandwich, check his email, call his friend Gary and wish him a happy birthday, watch two episodes of "Madame Secretary," and be back in bed under the covers before the lights go out.
No. 5: Bartolo Colon
He's 44 years old, he weighs 285 pounds, he still gets people out, hits once-per-millenium homers, what else can you say? He's Bartolo. Probably not true fact: Everything about Colon is true.
4-5: Hamilton vs. Colon
Mike bracket: No. 4 seed Billy Hamilton vs. No. 5 seed Bartolo Colon #funnestplayer
No. 3 seed: Bryce Harper
I know it's a lot -- the hair, the bod/When you're staring at a demigod. Probably not true fact: On the day he was born, his father said, "Someday, this boy is going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated," and they looked over at his bassinet, and were shocked to see that Harper was already 2-for-3 with a home run and a double.
No. 6: Manny Machado
A little bit of Brooks Robinson, plus a little bit of Cal Ripken, plus a little bit of pixie dust, equals an enormous and wonderful baseball monster. Probably not true fact: Can play all nine positions. At once.
3-6: Harper vs. Machado
Mike bracket: No. 3 seed Bryce Harper vs. No. 6 seed Manny Machado #funnestplayer
No. 2 seed: Javier Baez
Called "El Mago" -- the magician -- Baez is, among other things, the best tagger in the game. Before Baez, nobody even knew that was a thing. Probably not true fact: Baez is so good at tagging people, he once played a game of freeze tag as a child and all of his friends are still frozen to this day.
No. 7: Max Scherzer
He's a threat to throw a no-hitter every time he goes out to pitch. Technically, they're all a threat to do that -- but Scherzer really might do it any night. Probably not true fact: Has thrown 200 no-hitters.
2-7: Baez vs. Scherzer
Mike bracket: No. 2 seed Javier Baez vs. No. 7 seed Max Scherzer #funnestplayer
Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year. Michael Schur co-hosts The Poscast and is the creator of "The Good Place" on NBC. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.